A while back it was my **th birthday and my wife had a wonderful party for me. I really am not a fan and would usually try to be “out of town” but that never works so I have resigned myself to celebrating having the family together rather than my birthday. I had the pleasure of making 2 of my favorites smoked dry rub ribs and rotisserie chicken on the grill. OK I am sure it is a guy thing to want to smoke meat but I absolutely love to do it. When Carolyn posted what is your favorite kitchen tool mine is the smoker. I don’t have a ton of time so I have a propane unit but it does the job. It is simple so if you have thought about it this is an easy way to start. For my birthday I did a dry rub with Penzey’s Cajun spice. I like Penzey’s Cajun for getting some spice but very little heat. Our parents do not like to get hit in the face with overwhelming heat or acid inducing spices and this one gives a lot of flavor but won’t kill you. If I was just doing it for myself or the kids I would use Penzey’s Southwest seasoning. It carries at little more heat and a lot more flavor. What I like about Penzey’s is you can get them in a large bag and the products are great if you have not tried their spices you really should. As the famous Thacker’s burger slogan once was you can “buy ’em by the sack”. So I removed the membrane and applied the rub on the ribs. I prefer St. Louis Style ribs. I used Pecan wood for this batch and smoked the ribs for about 4 hours. I spray the ribs with apple juice or cider if it is around about every hour. I finished them on the grill with some doctored up with Sweet Baby Ray’s sauce for those who like sauce. I add some soy or teriyaki sauce to thin it down. I always feel sorry for the neighbors when I do the smoker. It smells so good and it goes on all day sometimes.
The 2nd meat was rotisserie chicken. If you do not have a rotisserie attachment for your grill you can split a chicken and use indirect heat to do this as well. I have to say my 2nd most favorite tool is the rotisserie. I have a back top burner on the grill that eliminates any flare ups and does the birds just fine. For this round I rubbed 2 whole chickens with olive oil and rubbed them with Cajun spice again. The oil crisps up the skin very nicely and the rub really comes through on these. Finally I make a feeble attempt at tying up the birds so the wings an legs don’t hang out while rotating. These cook on the grill for about 2 hours and I let them rest and slice them up and put all the meat on a platter. Everyone seems to enjoy this chicken.
Carolyn did scalloped potatoes, fresh green beans and OK we had salad from Birdsong Farms! For dessert it was a fresh strawberry shortcake. What was truly great was many of the people who we love were there (except my oldest son and his wife who were in Scotland for their 1st wedding anniversary – a reasonable excuse I suppose). So getting the family and friends together is one of the reasons why we cook. We know we cannot ever replace these moments and we try to live them as much as possible. So I toast the family and the food and look forward to doing it again!